Now that the Italian Battleships are in early access, I had begun to review them to see if I wanted to start grinding down the line…and, more to the point, HOW I would choose to build out my captains and ships. What kind of ships are these?
Obviously AP and SAP, but with max gun caliber of 381 mm. Ah, low gun range. So, meant to be played close in…with ok armor. Which then begged the question…are the secondaries any good? First pass look, and…90mm guns? Those are nearly pointless. But then I looked closer.
The 90mm guns are not the only secondary guns the Italian BBs use…and the rate of fire on the 90mm guns is quite good, and there are a LOT of them. Perhaps this could mean the secondaries could be good fire starters?
But what is a good fire starter, relatively speaking?
The more I thought, the more I realized I needed to 'do the math.'
So, the following table lays out the various secondary guns of the tier 10 tech tree ships. I have listed out a second set of rows for ships with multiple calibers. Rate of fire and range is determined using a secondary build (no IFHE) with the brawling skill…and all of the secondary modules that I usually take (not the last module). Total DPM is a THEORETICAL DPM if every shell hit AND penetrated for maximum damage. Fire rate is a relative value taking the rate of fire and burn probability into account.
So, first off is that Colombo has an insane potential DPM. Just a bit higher than Republique and Yamato. More on this later though. The interesting feature is that, even with that very high DPM on those 90mm guns…the actual fire chance should be on par with the average BBs for secondary fire chance (Yamato, Montana, Kremlin). Of both types of gun caliber secondaries…they both have a quite low fire chance. Republique remains the king of fire starting. Of interest is also how bad Grosser Kurfurst is at fires…but more on this in a moment.
The reason Colombo has such massive potential DPM is those many fast firing 90mm guns. However, they can only pen 15mm of plating…which is really only superstructures. So occasionally you might get some penetrating hits…but not often. Crucially, the key parameter for hitting the main targets you want your secondaries to work over is to beat 19mm of armor (standard plating on tier X destroyers (exception is Khabarovsk)).
So, let's look at potential DPM as it relates to actual penetrating hits…
If we only look at theoretical DPM that would penetrate tier X DDs consistently…then Colombo falls pretty short. Republique, Yamato, Montana, Kremlin, and Grosser Kurfurst are all better. In fact, Colombo falls into the category of 'worst' for actual useable direct damage output with Vermont and Conqueror.
If we look at hitting cruisers, however, the data is a little better. She moves into the 'average' category…since her larger secondaries can actual pen up to 25mm of armor. She is on par with Republique, and better than Yamato at this type of fight. Montana, Vermont, Conqueror, and Kremlin are all really going to be relying on fires, not penetrations against anything bigger than destroyers.
Also of interest, is how Grosser Kurfurst's secondaries are actually quite different than other nations. Since she gets the 1/4 penetration rule, her secondaries retain full potency up to 32 mm of armor, and her bigger guns can pen up to 38 mm, without IFHE. As a balancing factor, her fire chance is quite low. This is the reason why, of all the tech tree ships, Grosser Kurfurst is the only one I would take the accuracy captain skill for secondaries. You could actually be doing damage with penetrating hits for most areas you hit.
So, armed with the above math, I would argue that the following rules of thumb might apply if you want to meme with secondary guns:
– Vermont and Conqueror: Don't.
– Montana and Kremlin: Only if you want to scare away DDs…but not much use otherwise. You will have to rely on fires.
– Colombo, Republique, Yamato: Might actually do some damage to something other than a DD…sometimes. Maybe invest in range and put the secondary flag and the first module on. Primary damage against big targets will be fires…but only Republique excels at that.
– Grosser Kurfurst: Full meme builds, because you are actually going to get some penetrations. Unfortunately, WG makes you pay for that with low fire chance.
Now, what does IFHE do to this penetration chance?
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